08 March 2010
okay, i'm a bit fucked off at this guy. for those who don't know who he is, he plays for inter. he's turned down a chance to play for ghana [his birth parents are ghanaian] and he's holding out for italy, which, for many reasons, probably won't happen.
if it doesn't happen for the world cup, group f in the world cup will be the only group with no black players. [there's an off chance that someone might make the team in paraguay, but it's unlikely.] maybe someone will read this and marcello lippi will have a change of heart. however, this isn't a plea for lippi to include balotelli; quite the opposite, actually. the shameful way in which he's treated his birth parents should be a good enough reason that he should wait until brazil 2014, at least, to play in a world cup.
see, his birth parents left him to live with other people when he was two. in not-western_europe, this is fairly common practice: you leave your kid with other people if you don't think you can take care of them, and they raise him until such point you can take them back. or, if you can't take them back, you at least see them to check in occasionally -- and the checking in goes both ways, actually.
balotelli feels that his birth parents are only after him for his money. this is a touchy one. can't people just be proud? back when i was in the semi-public eye, various relatives of mine who i never knew were saying "yes, he's one of us, even though his mother took him and disappeared and we only saw him maybe once a year, if that, until he was out of high school."
but see, my mother was really big on the restavek thing [restavek is what this system is called in haiti, from "rester avec" meaning, literally "to stay with"]. there were other random children in my house when i was a kid. i thought it was normal. my parents could provide the right atmosphere, so why not?
another undercurrent of balotelli is the whole race thing. he's fairly routinely racially abused at serie a matches. you know, i'm usually really against the racial abuse in football, but after the way he igged his parents for doing what they thought was best, i'm like... good. maybe he needs to hear it. there's an undercurrent that lippi won't give balotelli the nod because italian supporters won't agree with someone black playing for italy. italy is about the only pre-1997 EU country who hasn't had a black player at the national level. even switzerland, with its ridiculous requirements for citizenship, has had black players.
but i think balotelli needs to grow up a bit more before he can get a nod.
the underlying racism in europe is one of the reasons i don't live there anymore. to this day i refuse to speak french in france, even though it's my first language. if i'm speaking french in france, then i'm an african who must be deported. but if i'm speaking english, it's often american enough that people want to practice their english with me. funnily enough, i get the exact same feeling/treatment in south africa. [it's a shame that my system can't take any more attacks by mosquitoes, or else i'd be gone from here, too.]
i was very much tempted to make a podcast of this, in italian, in the event someone tipped him off to this, but no, i'll keep it in english. for now. we'll see.